When Tony Carter stopped at an In-N-Out in Redding on Wednesday afternoon, he left his van running with the air conditioner on for the 15 show dogs inside. Within minutes of ordering, he said, his van was gone.
“We ordered at 1:19; the van was gone by 1:23,” Carter, a professional dog trainer, told the Record Searchlight. “It was gone. It was literally gone that fast.”
Now, Redding police are asking for the public’s help in finding the van, which had breeds including rat terriers, yellow Labradors and Rottweilers in kennels inside.
Authorities described the vehicle as a white 2018 Dodge ProMaster cargo van with the Washington license plate number BKD2048. The van has a Seattle Seahawks sticker on the back and a No. 12 in the rear window.
In a Facebook post, Carter said he and others were offering a $12,000 reward for the safe return of the dogs. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Wednesday.
“!!!!!!! PLEASE HELP !!!!!!!!!” he wrote in one post. The original post about the theft has been shared more than 38,000 times.
Carter told the Searchlight that he was stunned by the theft, especially on such a busy day at the fast-food restaurant.
“It was so busy. I mean, it was busy. I parked right in front of the store in the only shade place that they had — right directly in front of the store,” he said. “I mean, there was a line out there, there was In-N-Out employees out taking orders.”
The Searchlight reported that the dogs were on their way to the popular Woofstock Dog Show that kicks off Thursday at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo.
Anyone with information on the stolen van or the dogs is asked to call police at (530) 225-4200.